This past year was our second year in 4-H. The first year we joined an official club, but unfortunately we didn't learn a lot about actually participating in a project and entering the fair. It was a great year filled with fun activities and interesting learning experiences, but we left still not knowing how to prepare for and enter the fair.
Our second year was much different. A fellow homeschool mom and myself formed our own little "farm group" with our two families. The kids chose the meeting topics, and we planned the lessons. Our meetings were run by the kids in a fashion very similar to an official 4-H club. We chose to remain unofficial, and it seems to have been a perfect choice for us.
Anyone can enter the fair, so we spent the year facilitating the process of preparation for each child. All in all five of our children entered the fair, and it was an amazing experience all the way around. Bella and Avery are both looking forward to participating next year. It was difficult to rope them in this year, but they are much more interested having seen Harmony go through the full process. We also took some time in the still exhibit barn exploring what others entered in their age groups since they would be Clover Sprouts. There were some pretty interesting things to behold.
Initially, Harmony was interested in entering two projects in the fair; drop cookies and photography. Ultimately, we decided to go with one project; drop cookies. She found a recipe via my vast Pinterest collection that sounded good to her, and she set about making it her own. Beginning in February she started practicing her recipe and altering it to her liking. The most challenging part for her was learning to make the cookies all a consistent size despite using a cookie scoop. After a little concerted effort she's pretty well got it down.
She was super nervous about the interview process, but it went wonderful. I'm glad she had the experience. I'm sure she won't be quite as worried next year. The judges are super friendly, and it really isn't an intimidating process at all. The two comments she got on her recipe were "very, very good" and "good job knowing the recipe". She worked on it so much that she pretty much had it memorized by the time she made them for the judges.
Here's a little scrap book of her experience:
She is super proud, and so are we. I don't think any of us expected anything like this. What a wonderful first time experience it was for us. If you've been thinking about 4-H for your family, I cannot recommend it enough. Whether you join an official club, meet with some friends, or do it on your own it's totally worth it. We are fortunate to live right near the fairgrounds in our county, and fair week is much anticipated in our family. Now that we're actually part of the program it will bring even greater anticipation and excitement. So glad we finally did it!